So, here’s a thought… Should a bathroom pass be a reward in school?
Got an email from my son’s school counselor recently. It’s almost the end of the trimester – keep up the good work. Initially, I’m reading it and thinking, thanks for encouraging the kids! But then, I reach the last part and see this:
Don’t forget the perks for high achievement at Pioneer!
Student who earn a 2.0-2.9 will receive a WHITE sticker on their ASB card and get 1 bathroom pass, 1 free PE run, and 1 teachers choice pass.
Student who earn a 3.0-3.9 will receive a SILVER sticker on their ASB card and get 1 bathroom pass, 1 free PE run, 1 free late homework assignment, and 1 teachers choice pass.
Student who earn a 4.0 will receive a GOLD sticker on their ASB card and get 1 bathroom pass, 1 free PE run, 1 free late homework assignment, 1 five minute pass to lunch early, and 1 teachers choice pass.
And, I immediately switch from gratitude to, WHAT?!! (Okay, yes, there might have been an expletive or ten with that question – and another few with regard to the grammar in the message.)
A bathroom pass?! Seriously?!!
Yes, it’s true. At my son’s junior high school, bathroom trips during class time are, apparently, a reward. A REWARD!!
Congratulations! You’re doing a fine job! You may pee.
Since he began junior high, it’s been frustrating and aggravating enough to know that my son is afraid (his word) to ask to go to the bathroom during class. He’s explained that he doesn’t want to get into trouble or lose points. Punishments are given for needing to use the restroom during class time – a policy which the teachers and school admins gladly enforce. School runs from 7:45 am to 2:15 pm with thirty minutes for lunch, four minutes for passing time between classes.
So, I’m wondering, with the exception of lunch time (which is action-packed, by the way, with approximately 1,000 students split into two lunch periods), when, exactly, do the kids have time for a restroom break without sanctions?
Well, thankfully, if they can succeed at ending the trimester with 2.0 GPA or higher, they can earn one FREE pee pass for the next trimester. And just this once, kids, you don’t have to choose between holding it during class or losing points. What a treat!
Okay, yes, I know. Class time is more limited than ever and more valuable to teachers who have a ridiculous amount of lessons to cram into those class periods. And, of course I know what goof-offs kids can be (I have two teenage boys for crying out loud!). But, really? Is this where we’ve gone? Punishing and rewarding students with bathroom use? (Is that even legal? Can you withhold food as well, actually? Because, now, that would save me a ton of money!) What deep intellect invented this policy? And, even more horrifying, is likely proud of it? (Pleased with self, nodding in a meeting, yep, it’s working.) And why do so many educated adults follow along? Why do parents?
Sometimes I just don’t get it.